Sunday, June 23, 2024

South Africa: Govt Summons U.S. Envoy Over Russia Arms Accusation

The US envoy to South Africa accused Pretoria of sending arms to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, saying he’s betting “his life” on the accuracy of the allegations. President Ramaphosa’s office called for evidence.

South Africa’s Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador to meet Friday over allegations he made a day earlier about the country supplying arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor will also speak with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the matter, ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

The White House said they have consistently and strongly urged countries not to provide weapons for Russia’s war.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the German government was taking the reports on the matter “very seriously.”

The South African Foreign Ministry said later Friday in a statement that Washington’s envoy to South Africa Reuben Brightey “admitted that he crossed a line” and “apologized unreservedly.”

What were the concrete allegations made by the US?

Brigety said at a news conference Thursday that South Africa had loaded ammunitions onto a sanctioned Russian vessel at South Africa’s naval base last year in December.

The ship, docked at the Simon’s Town Naval Base near the city of Cape Town, then transported the arms to Russia, Brigety said.

“We (the US) are confident that weapons were loaded into that vessel and I would bet my life on the accuracy of that assertion,” Brigety said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, following the comments, said that an investigation into the matter was already underway.

The matter was being looked into before Brigety publicly accused Pretoria of sending arms to Russia, according to Ramaphosa, who called upon the US to prove the allegations.